Sunday, May 2, 2010

Grounded Bulk Carrier Moored In Australian World Heritage Site

Stricken Coal Ship to be Discharged in Queensland's Great Sandy Marine Park
Shipping News Feature

AUSTRALIA – The unfortunate case of the Shen Neng 1, grounded on the Great Barrier Reef a month ago, continues with yet a further twist. Somehow the two tonnes of oil spilled when she grounded on the Douglas Shoal has paled into insignificance given the horrendous pollution emanating from the fractured well head deep beneath the ocean in the Gulf of Mexico in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon tragedy.

Danger still remains however after the vessel suffered towlines to snap several times when tugs failed to manage to deliver the bulk carrier, cargo of 65,000 tonnes of coal still intact, to her proposed destination of Gladstone 350 miles North of Brisbane. Horrendous weather meant that a decision was made to moor the ship in Hervey Bay, at the heart of the protected area.

Whilst there she will be relieved of around 20,000 tonnes of coal enabling her to be better towed back to China. With the ship riding higher in the water the task of moving her is considered to be far less hazardous.

Obviously there have been many objections to offloading the cargo in an area where numerous protected species live, breed and take shelter but as the ship is relatively sound despite hull and rudder damage and the authorities at the Australian Maritime Safety Authority perceived it as the safest option, an incident in the recent rough seas off the coast might create an even more damaging scenario as the vessel was being manoeuvred through the narrow shipping lanes to the Australian port.

For anyone interested in a blow by blow ongoing account as to progress on the situation updates can be viewed at the Queensland Government Maritime Safety Site here and referring back via our previous articles on the freighter from her stranding on the reef to the arrest of those believed responsible.

Photo: The Shen Neng 1 being manoeuvred with a towline by one of the 3 tugs used to move her from the shoal.